Discover an unusual trail, following the banks of "La Rigole Alimentaire”, a small canal feeding into Vioreau Pond. The canal crosses the valley of the Erdre thanks to four aqueducts with eight to ten arches and travels underground over 600 m. It is, moreover, spanned by many picturesque stone bridges... During your walk you can admire the Castle of La Lucinière and the wooded area on the other side of the Valley of Erdre.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Leave your car at the starting point car park near the RD69. The route you will take is signposted in both directions in yellow according to the standards of the FFRP.
(S/F) Facing the sign at the start, turn left and walk along the small canal for a few metres. At the road, turn immediately right towards the village of La Belletière.
As soon as you arrive in the village, take the lane opposite before the bend in the road. Continue straight for 300 m to reach the RD69 and the village of La Marchanderie. At the intersection, turn left and go straight for 200 metres walking on the left side of the RD69 (take care).
At the end of the village (1) take the path on your right and continue straight. You pass under the arches called Pre Boursier. In a loop on the right (2), reach the small canal.
Arrive at the canal, cross the bridge and take the path in front of you. At the end of the path (3), turn left and then take the next right. Continue on the road for about 600 m. On your right you see the Castle of La Lucinière and its woodlands on the other side of the Valley of Erdre.
Then take the path down to the canal on the right. Reach the canal (4), turn left and continue straight. You will pass over the arches of Gué de la Roche. Just before the next bridge over the canal (5) turn right and join the road by the opening in the hedge. Take another right and head down to the Erdre River.
At the end of the road, turn right and you will be back at the arches (picnic area nearby). Arrive at the arches, take an immediate right and go up the steep path. At the top, turn left and turn back in the opposite direction.
Continue straight ahead along the small canal. Go to the hamlet of La Rivière aux Simons (6), then the arcades called the Pré Boursier. A little further on, note in against the bottom of the canal on the left the Quiquengrogne water mill. Then cross the RD69 (7) (be careful) and reach the starting point (S/F) by heading along the canal again.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 0.57 - alt. mi 0.57
2 : mi 1.03 - alt. mi 1.03
3 : mi 1.25 - alt. mi 1.25
4 : mi 1.91 - alt. mi 1.91
5 : mi 2.59 - alt. mi 2.59
6 : mi 3.59 - alt. mi 3.59
7 : mi 4.46 - alt. mi 4.46 - Erdre (rivière)
8 : mi 4.69 - alt. mi 4.69
D/A : mi 4.8 - alt. mi 4.8
The following facilities are available around the circuit:
- Three public car parks are available along the route: from a point of the circuit at the village of La Belletière, another at a place called La Rivière Simon and the last at a place called Le Vieil Essart.
- Two picnic areas: one located at the starting point and the other at the foot of Gué de la Roche arches.
We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 1322SB.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Also named "Petit Canal", the canal connects Lake Vioreau to the Nantes-Brest canal at the "Pas d'Héric” lock. It supplies water to the first section of the canal to offset the level of decline due to lockage and evaporation during the summer. Its construction is a technical masterpiece, with a gradient of only 14 cm per kilometre along its 21.3 km!
Vault village is located a few hundred metres from the starting point and offers several services and outdoor activities:
- Picnic area
- Toilets and public showers
- Lodgings (groups and individuals)
- Canoe/kayak hire
Global average : 4.67/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 5/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 5/5
Global average : 4.67 / 5
Date of walk
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good
We had walked along parts of the Rigole before but this lovely route complemented what we knew because it included sections along little lanes and through small villages, much of it new to us. We got a real feel for how the canal engineering fitted into the countryside. Stunningly beautiful in the dappled September sunshine...and we know from previous visits the spring wildflowers are fantastic. The route crosses two small aquaducts; at first sight they seem to be identical, and we were momentarily confused because we thought we'd gone round in a circle; in fact we met two young men who had done just that. So keep your wits about you!!!
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.